Panel gives thumbs down on demolition of Mechanic Theatre

Baltimore's historical preservation commission on Tuesday officially disapproved of demolishing the Morris A. Mechanic Theatre.

The vote by the Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation, or CHAP, means the city's Department of Housing and Community Development, which issues demolition permits, will not be able to proceed for at least six months.

Owings Mills-based developer David S. Brown Enterprises Ltd. and the Washington architecture firm Shalom Baranes Associates released plans in the spring that called for the demolition of the Mechanic and the construction of two residential towers in its place.

During the six-month waiting period, the developer is supposed to work with CHAP to find alternatives to — or to allay concerns about — demolition. After the six months are up, a demolition permit may be issued as long as plans for the site's redevelopment have been submitted to the housing department.